Now, trees fall prey to hoardings

As Reported by Ashwin Aghor , DNA, Tuesday, June 24, 2008 03:01 IST

The ones that block the view are being 'trimmed' to give ads more visibility
First, the city lost substantial green cover to real estate development and other activities. Now the trees that remain have a new threat — advertising hoardings.

Several trees that were blocking the hoardings’ view have been mercilessly chopped. However, the municipal authorities do not seem to have knowledge of these incidents, let alone take action to prevent violation of Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975.

A peepal tree at Haji Ali was chopped recently. Despite several complaints, the civic authorities have failed to nail the culprits. “This is not the first time the tree has been chopped. Whenever this tree grows to block the hoarding behind it, its height reduced to less than 10 ft overnight. This is not an isolated case in the city, though,” said Anahita Pundole, a citizen.

When Pundole could not get information about tree cutting from municipal authorities, she applied under the Right to Information Act. “It was only after that the authorities parted with information,” she said.

However, she said nothing was done even after that. The authorities told Pundole that the hoarding’s owner had been served a notice and a police complaint was filed.

The civic authorities denied any knowledge of illegal tree cutting. “I am not aware about tree cutting. My office does not have information about the action taken against the hoarding owner,” said S Gholap, superintendent of licence department, BMC.

The deputy superintendent of licence department SD Kharate, who was also unaware of the incident, assured action against the offender.

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